Sleep and cannabis
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Sleep and cannabis: This plant could be your solution to insomnia

People need around seven hours of sleep every night. But many adults struggle to get enough rest for various reasons. This article explores how sleep and cannabis go hand-in-hand for many people and offers several weed options that you can use for your insomnia.

Adopting habits like avoiding caffeine later in the day, exercising regularly, and reducing screen time before bed can improve sleep. However, these methods might not always be effective. For this reason, a rising number of people are searching for online weed dispensary and turning to marijuana as an option for rest-related concerns.

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Statistics of Canadians suffering from insomnia

Colleen E Carney, PhD, from the Canadian Sleep Society, highlights that occasional sleepless nights are usual, with about 40% of Canadians experiencing insomnia symptoms at some point. However, chronic insomnia at diagnostic levels affects roughly 10% of the population or 3.5 million Canadians. This high rate is often due to insomnia often occurring alongside other conditions like depression or pain.

In Canada, the annual costs associated with insomnia are over CAD$5,000 per person. But the impact extends beyond financial aspects. Those suffering from insomnia face significant challenges in their daily lives, including reduced energy, poorer health perception, and difficulty performing everyday physical tasks.

Cannabis and insomnia

Sian Ferguson, the author of Can You Use Cannabis to Restore Your Natural Sleep Cycle? notes that the increasing number of people with sleep disorders has sparked interest in a contentious solution: cannabis. The medical marijuana community regards cannabis as a potent treatment for various sleep disorders, citing minimal side effects.

Dr Matt Roman, a medical marijuana physician, explains, “Marijuana effectively aids sleep by reinstating a person’s natural sleep rhythm, which frequently becomes disrupted by our modern lifestyles.”

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Understanding sleep and cannabis

Marijuana comes in various strains, each with different effects – some are stimulating, while others are more calming and sedative. This is due to the different cannabinoids present in the plant.

Here’s a brief overview of the science behind marijuana and its key cannabinoids:

  • Cannabidiol (CBD): Known for its health benefits, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t produce a “high”.
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): THC is the psychoactive component that creates the “high” sensation. It’s also known for promoting sleep. So, strains with higher THC levels are usually preferred for sleep.
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THC vs CBD: Which is more effective for sleep?

AspectTHC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)CBD (Cannabidiol)
Psychoactive ImpactsProduces psychoactive results, can cause a “high”.Non-psychoactive, doesn’t cause a “high”.
Rest-initiating PropertiesMay assist with rest because of narcotic impacts.May have gentle rest-initiating properties.
Tension and Stress AlleviationCan lessen tension and stress, possibly supporting rest.Known for its anxiolytic (uneasiness lessening) properties.
Secondary effectsPotential secondary effects incorporate sleepiness, hindered memory, and reliance.Endured with negligible secondary effects.

A 2008 study indicates that marijuana strains high in THC can decrease the amount of REM sleep, which is the dream phase of sleep. This reduction in REM sleep can be beneficial for individuals with PTSD by potentially lessening nightmares.

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How does cannabis work as a sleep aid?

●     ECS interaction

Compounds in marijuana interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which plays a role in regulating sleep, among other functions.

●     THC’s relaxing effect

THC, a component in cannabis, binds to CB1 receptors in the brain. It leads to relaxation and drowsiness.

●     CBD and anxiety relief

CBD, another compound in cannabis, may help reduce anxiety. It creates a more conducive environment for sleep.

●     Impact on sleep phases

Marijuana use might increase the duration of deep sleep stages, potentially enhancing overall sleep quality.

●     Pain relief benefits

The analgesic properties of cannabis can help alleviate pain and improve sleep for individuals experiencing discomfort.

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Varieties of cannabis for insomnia

Cannabis productsDescriptionProsCons
Indica strainsTypically associated with relaxing effects, often used for nighttime use.Potential for sedative properties.May cause grogginess in the morning.
CBD dominant productsProducts with a higher ratio of CBD to THC.Non-psychoactive, reduces anxiety.May have less sedative effect compared to THC-dominant strains.
High-THC strainsStrains with elevated levels of THC.Strong sedative effectsIncreased risk of side effects, such as impairment and dependency.
EdiblesCannabis-infused food products.Prolonged duration of effects.Delayed onset, difficult to dose precisely.
TincturesLiquid extracts typically taken under the tongue.Quick onset, customisable dosing.Effects may vary, taste may be unpleasant.
MicrodosingConsuming very low doses of THC.Potential for improved sleep without strong psychoactive effects.Effectiveness may vary, finding optimal dose can be challenging.

Indica, sativa, and hybrid strains

If your doctor has approved marijuana for treating your insomnia, the next step is selecting the right strain, similar to choosing a tea blend. Here are the three primary types of strains:

  • Indica: Known for its calming and relaxing effects.
  • Sativa: Typically, sativa strains are uplifting, making people feel more energetic and happier.
  • Hybrids: These are combinations of indica and sativa, with the specific blend varying depending on the manufacturer or dispensary.

Staff at dispensaries can provide recommendations tailored to your needs. Dr Jordan Tishler, a physician trained at Harvard with expertise in cannabis therapeutics, advises choosing a strain with less than 20% THC. He cautions that higher THC concentrations can complicate dosing and may lead to grogginess or sleepiness the next morning.

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Best strains for better sleep

StrainsDescriptionPotencyBenefits for Insomnia
Super Death BubbaIndica-dominant hybrid with a strong sedative effectHighDeep relaxation and potential for inducing sleep
Mango KushSweet and fruity aroma, known for its relaxing propertiesMedium to HighCalming effects, may help with stress and insomnia
Mike Tyson OGNamed after the famous boxer, known for its potent sedative effectsHighRelaxation, relief from pain, and potential sleep aid
LA’ Bron JamesIndica-dominant strain with a mix of fruity and earthy flavoursMedium to HighRelaxing and calming effects, suitable for bedtime
Bubba KushClassic indica strain with a sweet and earthy aromaHighDeep relaxation, and the potential for easing insomnia.

What is the recommended dosage of cannabis for insomnia relief?

Dosage LevelDescriptionBest For WhomPotential Effects
Low (2.5-5mg THC)Mild relaxation, suitable for beginners.Individuals with low tolerance or new to cannabis.Mild relaxation, potential anxiety reduction.
Moderate (5-15mg THC)Moderate relaxation, standard dose.Regular cannabis users or those seeking a balanced effect.Increased relaxation, potential sedation, improved sleep onset.
High (15-30mg THC)Strong sedative effect, experienced users.Individuals with high tolerance or chronic insomnia.Pronounced sedation, deep relaxation, increased sleep duration.
Very High (30mg+ THC)Potentially overwhelming for some.Individuals with extremely high tolerance or chronic and severe insomnia.Intense sedation, strong psychoactive effects, use with caution.
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More cannabis strains for better sleep

Cannabis varieties are often distinguished based on species and specific strains. The main species are indica, sativa, or hybrids of both. Each species contains a range of strains, each with its own cannabinoid and chemical profile, leading to varied effects.

Indica strains are generally favoured for sleep aid. While comprehensive research on the best strain for sleep is limited, a small study identified several strains that participants preferred for sleep, including:

  • Lemon Sour Diesel
  • OG Shark
  • Skywalker OG
  • Pink Kush
  • Jack Herer
  • White Widow
  • Afghani

Better sleep and cannabis: Find your strain

Online weed dispensary emerges as a potential solution to address insomnia-related concerns. By offering a curated selection of Indica-dominant strains renowned for their calming and sedative properties, individuals seeking relief from sleep disturbances may find various options tailored to your preferences.

The availability of specific strains through this online platform opens a door for those exploring alternative approaches to managing insomnia and achieving a more restful night’s sleep.

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Frequently asked questions

Is smoking the only way to use cannabis for insomnia?

No, smoking is not the only way to use cannabis for insomnia. Several alternative methods can be effective, including:

●      Vaporising (Vaping)

Heating cannabis at a lower temperature than smoking, creating a vapour to inhale. This method is less harsh on the lungs.

●      Oils

Cannabis-infused oils can be consumed orally or added to foods.

●      Capsules or pills

These are formulated with precise dosages of cannabis. Offers a controlled way to ingest.

●      Topicals

Although less common for insomnia, cannabis-infused creams or lotions can be applied to the skin. However, topicals don’t have psychoactive effects and may be better suited for pain relief.

Is it possible to become tolerant or dependent on cannabis for sleep?

Yes, there’s a risk of developing tolerance and dependence on cannabis for sleep, especially with prolonged and regular use. To reduce these risks, it’s advised to use cannabis moderately, take regular breaks to prevent tolerance buildup, and consult healthcare professionals for alternative strategies to manage insomnia.

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What should I do if cannabis doesn’t improve my insomnia?

If cannabis doesn’t improve your insomnia:

  • Check the strain, dosage, and consumption method.
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule and create a comfortable sleep environment.
  • Consult a healthcare professional for alternative treatment options.
  • Look into non-pharmacological options like cognitive-behavioral therapy or relaxation techniques.
  • Discuss any adverse effects with your doctor.
  • Keep informed about new research on cannabis and sleep.
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Can cannabis help with sleep apnea?

As of 2018, further research has explored the potential role of medical cannabis in treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). However, due to the lack of regulation by the FDA and the variability in synthetic cannabis products, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine does not recommend medical cannabis for OSA treatment, citing uncertainties about its long-term impact on sleep quality and respiratory stability.

Sources:

https://css-scs.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/150-009_Eng.pdf

https://www.healthline.com/health/medical-marijuana/cannabis-for-sleeping

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